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Benefits of circus therapy

Circus therapy can improve quality of life as well as physical and mental health by
combining physical activity a social setting that is focused on play and creative

Circus therapy activities can include warm-up games, balance and coordination
activities, acrobatics, and performance/presentations.

Warm up games provide an opportunity for team work, verbal and non-verbal
communication, and a mix of attainable and challenging tasks.

Balance and coordination activities

Balance games and coordination-building activities like hula hoop-ing and juggling can
improve body and sensory awareness, fitness, and motor skills as well as develop
rapid-thinking and problem solving abilities and improve self esteem and the ability to
trust and understand others.

Acrobatic activities promote core, upper and lower limb strength and flexibility, as well
as body awareness and the ability to challenge stereotypes about strength and physical

Performance and presentation elements can increase self confidence, and help to
develop life skills around communication and negotiation, problem solving, and giving
and receiving social support.
Life Skills
The acquisition of life skills refers to an interactive process of teaching and learning. This enables
participants to acquire knowledge and develop attitudes and skills which support the adoption of
healthy behaviors which will carry throughout their lifetime.

The integration of freedom and creativity with perseverance and discipline enables circus arts to give
individuals a chance to develop life skills, express themselves, and increase opportunities for life
Communication increases the participants ability to expand on their opinions. Furthermore they are
empowered to offer detailed feedback on their preferences for certain activities, and how their sense
of self was affected by the action.

Participants are prompted to share ideas, thoughts and feelings in peer direction and constructive
Self-Confidence and Self-Efficacy
Participants experience an increase in self-confidence and self-efficacy. This empowerment validates
personal capability to acquire new skills, improve on existing skills, and increase the ability to
communicate their knowledge with peers.

Participants acquire an increased level of understanding around varying levels of ability and equality.

Participants acknowledge capacity building amongst themselves and their group.

Body Awareness
Participants increase their awareness of their flexibility, tone, strength, coordination, and quality of

Participants increase their ability to use their bodies in multiple ways to achieve goals as well as
work with others in a safe environment.
Problem Solving and Perseverance
A variety of pre planning and improvisational tasks are introduced for the participants to problem
solve and use personal and group resources to find solutions and achieve goals.

A mix of achievable and challenging tasks to increase motivation and perseverance.

A combination of individual, pair, and group games and activities will assist participants in
developing trust within themselves and their peers.

Participants are directed and supported in activities, which enable positive risk taking emotionally
and physically.
Teamwork/Social Connectedness
Participants are consistently encouraged to work together to achieve a common goal.

Participants learn about acknowledging personal limitations and how to address them by valuing
their own personal strengths as well as those of their peers.

Participants are encouraged to offer each other support and ask for help physically, mentally, and
emotionally when needed.

Juggling increases brain power

Complex tasks such as
juggling produce significant
changes to the structure of the
brain, according to scientists
at Oxford University.
In the journal, Nature
Neuroscience, the scientists say
they saw a 5% increase in white
matter - the cabling network of
the brain.
The people who took part in the
study were trained for six weeks
and had brain scans before and
after. The volunteers were taught to juggle with three
Long term it could aid treatments
for diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Diffusion MRI
The team from Oxford's Department of Clinical Neurology used a
diffusion MRI which is able to measure the movement of water
molecules in the tissues of the brain.
The signal changes according to It's extremely exciting to see evidence

how many bundles of nerve fibres that training changes human white
there are and how tightly packed matter connections

they are.
Changes in grey matter, where Professor Cathy Price, Wellcome Trust Centre
the processing and computation for Neuroimaging
in the brain happens, have been shown before, but enhancements in
the white matter have not previously been demonstrated.
Three ball cascade
The scientists studied a group of 24 healthy young adults, none of
whom could juggle.
They divided them into two groups.
One of the groups was given weekly training sessions in juggling for
six weeks and was asked to practice 30 minutes every day the other
12 continued as normal.
After training, the 12 jugglers could perform at least two continuous
cycles of the classic three ball cascade.
Both groups were scanned using
diffusion MRI before and after the
At the six week point, a 5%
increase in white matter was
shown in a rear section of the
brain called the intraparietal
sulcus for the jugglers.
This area has been shown to
contain nerves that react to us
reaching and grasping for objects
in our peripheral vision.
There was a great variation in the
ability of the volunteers to juggle The red area shows the part of the white matter
but all of them showed changes of the brain that is enlarged by learning to juggle
in white matter.
It is in the intraparietal sulcus at the back of the
The Oxford team said this must
be down to the time spent
training and practising rather
than the level of skill attained.
Dr Heidi Johansen-Berg, who led the team, said: "MRI is an indirect
way to measure brain structure and so we cannot be sure exactly
what is changing when these people learn.
"Future work should test whether these results reflect changes in the
shape or number of nerve fibres, or growth of the insulating myelin
sheath surrounding the fibres.
"Of course, this doesn't mean that everyone should go out and start
juggling to improve their brains.
"We chose juggling purely as a complex new skill for people to
Clinical Applications
Dr Johansen-Berg said there were clinical applications for this work
but there were a long way off.
She said: "Knowing that pathways in the brain can be enhanced may
be significant in the long run in coming up with new treatments for
neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, where these
pathways become degraded."
Professor Cathy Price, of the Wellcome Trust Centre for
Neuroimaging, said: "It's extremely exciting to see evidence that
training changes human white matter connections.
"This complements other work showing grey matter changes with
training and motivates further work to understand the cellular
mechanisms underlying these effects."

Our Toddler class is specifically designed to nurture the development of toddlers aged 1 year to 4 years.
This class is beneficial for balance, hand/eye co-ordination, motor skills and strength as well as providing
valuable bonding time* for you and your little one.
Its a great chance for toddlers and parents to learn the basics of circus through play, dance and song
under the careful supervision of our trained circus tutors.
Come along on for a fun, safe and innovative parent and child class. Our learning objectives are:
Support family bonding
Learn to play and be creative with adults and each other
Encourage social interaction from an early age- learn to share, wait for turns, and build social skills
Acquire basic motor skills and to have an age appropriate level of physical literacy
Feel safe and comfortable being the centre of attention within the group
Allow you and your little mite discover the joys of circus!
Fun will be had!
When: Mondays and Thursdays 10-11am
Age: 1 to 4 years
Skills Taught: juggling/manipulation, balancing/equilibristics and acrobatics/tumbling!
Cost: 30 for 6 week course starting on Monday 2nd November & Thursday 5th November

*Parents / Carers are required to stay & participate

Our Family Circus is on from 2.15-3.15pm on Monday afternoons, and 10-11am and 11:30am-12:30pm*
on Saturdays. Whether you are new to the circus or wish to move on from Toddler Circus, Family Circus
gives you time with your whole family with circus activities. Regardless of age or the size of your family
there is something for everyone at our Family Circus. Here you will be able to focus on specific circus
skills such as balancing, juggling, aerial and acrobatics, through fun age-appropriate workshops and
Our learning objectives are:
Playing together, teamwork, bonding and strengthening the family unity
Taking pleasure in creating, practising and performing routines together
Collaborating with other members of the group; to lead and to follow
To be aware of situations involving risks and to agree together how to avoid those risks
Learning circus skills such as acrobatics, juggling and balancing suitable to all abilities
Being creative and using imaginative problem-solving
Developing balance, coordination, muscle development, concentration and confidenceFamily Circus is a
great way for the whole family to learn a little more about each circus skill while still having fun.
When: Mondays 2.15-3.15pm, Saturdays 10-11am and Saturday 11:30am-12:30pm*
(Starting on Monday 2nd November and Saturday 7th November)
Age: suitable for all ages
Skills Taught: juggling/manipulation, balancing/equilibristics, aerial and acrobatics/tumbling!
Our Junior Circus training is designed for young people aged 8-11 years, and is offered at four different
times of the week. We engage in the various disciplines of circus; aerial, manipulation, balance,
acrobatics as well as stage presence
Our learning objectives are:
Teamwork, new friendships and group bonding leading, following, developing a sense of belonging to a
group and to feel responsible for the smooth running of that group
Developing a greater sense of personal responsibility and independent learning setting personal goals and
thinking of creative ways to achieve them.
Increased body awareness and muscle development
Being comfortable performing their own routines in front of an audience
Engaging in safe risk-taking within the secure circus environment

Learning from the activity about Children's Circus Skills:

Fun Facts & Ideas

Physical fitness
Manual dexterity

The benefits gained from learning circus skills depend entirely on which skills are studied.
Regardless of these it will hopefully provide your child with an opportunity to develop social skills and
confidence in a relaxed and fun environment.
Complex tasks such as juggling produce significant changes to the structure of the brain, according
to scientists at Oxford University.